Say hello to gravity waves | Science News for Students

Say hello to gravity waves

Scientists have finally detected ripples in space
Feb 12, 2016 — 3:00 pm EST
gravity waves

This is the type of signal that LIGO detected, which confirmed the existence of gravitational waves.

Science News/SSP

On February 11, 2016, scientists announced that they had detected a burst of special waves. These waves — gravitational waves — are ripples in in the fabric of space, the result of two black holes slamming into each other. The famous physicist Albert Einstein predicted the existence of these waves 100 years ago. Now, the detection of these undulations has changed how we see the universe. Check out our new stories about gravity waves, along with some of our older coverage.

Gravitational waves detected at last! Scientists announced the first detection of gravitational waves. They found them emanating from two black holes that slammed together 1.3 billion years ago.

How to catch a gravity wave Einstein predicted gravitational waves 100 years ago. But hunting them down took decades of hard work.

Explainer: What are gravitational waves? The phrase has been on everyone’s lips. But what are these ripples in space? We explain. 

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MAKING WAVES Here’s how gravitational waves work, and how scientists detected them for the first time from two colliding black holes 1.3 billion light years away. Science News/SSP

Zombie stars: A source of gravitational waves? Pulsars — the dense cores of dead stars — still keep in touch with intense radio waves. A pair of these zombie stars provided scientists a clue to find gravitational waves.

New recipe for monster black holes When giant gas clouds collapsed in the early years of our universe, they created monster black holes that could have made big gravitational waves.

Einstein taught us: ‘It’s all relative’  The famous physicist’s prediction of gravitational waves was all about general relativity.

Dust erases evidence of primordial gravity waves  In 2014, scientists hoped they had found the gravitational waves from the Big Bang. But in 2015 they realized that oops, it was just dust.

Waves from the birth of time According to theory, the Big Bang sent gravitational waves rippling through the universe. In 2014, scientists thought they detected them. They would ultimately be proven wrong.

When the universe began…again Some scientists think that there may be gravitational waves in our universe that are left over from massive explosions in a previous universe — before the Big Bang. 

LIGO infographic